Help! Bad boy pulling when tied and not standing still! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southern Oregon
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Help! Bad boy pulling when tied and not standing still!

My daughter is working with a big 7 year old gelding who is being naughty! He didn't do this too bad before, but yesterday was horrible. I know part of his anxiety is due to some changes in routine, but this is not ok. He broke a lead rope yesterday pulling back while tied, and he just plain won't stand still . I am looking for different opinions on how to handle this as well as advice for my 13 year old daughter who is doing most of the handling (I am right there supervising, though). I did get one opportunity, yesterday, after he broke the lead rope he got worse when she retied him with a different one, so I dropped what I was doing and walked over with the dressage whip and stood there waiting for him to act up. As soon a he started to pull back again I gave him a good firm swat and said, "NO!" and he quit immediately and stood still for a few minutes. I have been having her do alot of ground work and lunging to get him to respect her more, and she hasn't been riding him yet. My thought was, while she is grooming and he is tied, to stand by him with a dressage whip and spank him when he is pulling back and being fidgety, I know that that may not be kosher with the natural horsemanship crowd, but I can't have him thinking this is ok. He is a nervous guy to begin with and quite herd bound and hasn't been worked with for over a year until just recently. He also likes to untie himself with his teeth. In all my years of working with different horses I have never dealt with one quite like this. I don't want my emotions to get in the way here either. I haven't searched the forum, yet, to see if there are any other threads on this subject, I will go do that. In the meantime, any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

"Have You given the horse strength? Have You clothed his neck in thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; Job 39:19...
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Eastern Shore of MD.
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When you tie him groom him, do you tie him with a slip knot?

When my QH Cocoa was younger, she was afraid of the hitching post and would pull back. I lost a few halters and leads before I began tying her with a slip knot. Any time she would freak out, I quickly untied her and walked her around to calm her down.

I would suggest doing some ground work with him before grooming. Get his attention and respect before doing an activity you know he doesnt behave well for.

Also try and figure out what is triggering his "pull back" instances. For Cocoa, it was the sound of a car or tractor anywhere in her area. If you can figure out what is bothering him when he is tied and then work on that, you will save yourself some stress.

I dont recommend hitting him in the rump when he pulls back. During one of Cocoa's pull back episodes a fellow boarder came over and whacked her in the butt - she ended up jumping over the hitching post and getting stuck between the barn and the post.

Cocoa - 32 yr old QH, Cherokee - 8 yr old TWH & Toby - 16 yr old QH
R.I.P. Cocoa 4/13/78 - 2/9/11
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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NEVER beat the horse for pulling back. It can get only much worse. Mine does it too - she's spooky and feels trapped sometime. I don't tie her to post but either hold the end (and she stands) or make one loop around the post, so if she pulls it's getting loose by moving with her. I've seen equipment on Clinton Anderson's to teach the horse to tie, but it's too costly. You can look for release hook (it's not that expensive), which let horse pull back, but still tight, so it doesn't pull the whole rope through.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 03:33 PM
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yes i agree with the no hitting thing if he's afraid. It's one thing to pop em if they are acting out, but being afraid is different. Especially if everything is new. when introducing my gelding to new things, he feels the need to pull pull pull and back up. i just stay calm and let him back up to the end of the lead rope and keep myself calm and just stand there. then he gets too curious and comes up to whatever it is himself. with grooming though, that's a hard one. my gelding also does the chewing and antsy thing, but doesnt pull back. he just gets bored(but he's 2). So sorry i wasnt of any help, but hopefully someone else can come up with something.

I think if I were in your situation, I would just do little grooming sessions at a time. Catch it before he is about to freak out and be done. But it has to be when you say so, not because he is acting up. And just build the time up longer and longer. Make the time fun. while he's being good, maybe give a piece of carrot. lots of rubbing and praise. It sounds like maybe baby steps are needed. but i dont know sorry!
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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My boy can be a bit of hand full with a similar issue. When I being him in the barn aisle and tie him, if the barn is empty (as in the morning or sometimes earlier in the afternoon) he gets agitated because he is the only horse inside.

Interestingly enough when we are out in the arena working just the 2 of us, the fact there are no horses around is fine but as when we are in the barn aisle he's a punk.

He knows better. I think he just unhappy that he is by himself. Do lots and lots of handling with him. The more you handle him on the ground the better he will get. As it has been mentioned try to figure out and see if there is a different reason as to why he might be acting this way (no other horses around, something scaring him, maybe history of an accident while tied etc).

Good luck :)
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 04:12 PM
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My boy went through a phase like that this winter for about a month, which irritated the crud out of me, because that is one habit that I just cannot stand in horses. I made sure that the halter and lead were strong (rope halters are good), and tied it so that it would not jam up really badly, and he would decide to pull back for various reasons fighting the rope and then stop - 2 or 3 times while tied.

Finally, one day I had not even gotten the rope around the hitching post when he tried, so I reacted quickly, I took the lead with me, and drove him backwards very assertively (I got big and loud too). I brought him back up, tied him, and he has not done it since. This worked for my boy's personality, but it is hard to say if it would with yours. If you think it would, just wrap the lead around the post once, and then if he starts to pull, begin to drive him back. It is worth a shot :)
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 10:06 PM
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If he's not standing still and didn't used to pull back all the time, it sounds a lot more like misbehaving instead of standing still.

about the worst thing you could do is what kim angel said she did with her horse cocoa:

Any time she would freak out, I quickly untied her and walked her around to calm her down.
thats a perfect reward for misbehaving. Even if your horse is frightened, unless he's in a dangerous location, or is likely to hurt himself badly/get tangled, you can often just let them pull.

The best thing to do is to find a good halter, one that wont break. and either a very good leadline
(those snaps break easy) or a strong rope, and tie your horse to something that absolutely wont budge, but make sure you use an emergency knot and can release him if he gets tangled.

Go about doing things as normal and if he starts to pull yell no/buzzer sound, whatever you do. If he stops then, great, if he doesn't, let him pull, untying him would be a reward for pulling. And don't worry, if he just pulls, even for a while, the worst thing he can do is make his head a little sore. He'll soon figure out that pulling gets him nowhere.[/i]
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 10:10 PM
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i'd suggest tying him i a quick release and let him pull. if he starts thrashing and risking both himself and you untie him and make him back a good sixteen steps if you can or run him and then tie him again. work makes bad boys real good real fast. :]
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-06-2008, 10:45 PM
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pulling back

Sounds like he has learned a very bad and dangerous habit . to help with this type habits in the past i have used a chest rope on a horse as well as a halter rope. with the chest rope it will not let him pull back and breck the rope and the halter rope enforces this with him. ive had to do this on a few horses that have been spoiled before i gotten them and it is nessary to stop this or you will never be able to tie him up for any reason even hauling to a show or a trail ride will cause a very dangerous issue for you and your daughter as well as any others horse or person around him . Im sure there are a lot of pro trainers that can cure this in different ways but the chest rope is what has worked good for me over the years hope it might help you in some little way Dave
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-07-2008, 01:28 AM
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Years ago I owned a horse who went thru the same issue. The owners before I had the horse kept her tied while she would pull back which turned into a huge accident as the lead rope nor the halter ever gave way. She ended up panicking and hurting herself.

No one was ever to tie her after that.

Make sure you rule out all possible (changeable) reasons as to why he/she might be acting this. It could be caused by something very simple.

Stay Safe
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